An EPA label is required for any product that make a claim that it kills, prevents, repels or mitigates any type of pests and/or microbes. Unfortunately, companies try to sell their products making such claims without an EPA pesticide label. Below is a sample of companies that were fined for failing to register their product with the EPA or or for making misleading or false claims. Please do not have your company join this list.
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Zep Inc. Pays $905,000 for Alleged Violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
ATLANTA - Zep Inc., located in Atlanta, GA, has agreed to pay $905,000 to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. As part of the settlement, Zep Inc., has certified that it is now in compliance with FIFRA.
The alleged violations are related to the sale and distribution of the unregistered and misbranded pesticide, “Formula 165”, ” as a supplemental distributor without first obtaining a supplemental distribution agreement with the registrant between April 21, 2010, and January 6, 2012. The lack of a supplemental agreement also meant that ZEP Inc. was not authorized to manufacture or sell or distribute the pesticide.
In addition, EPA alleged that Zep Inc., gave false certifications of compliance with FIFRA Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) on documents associated with the registration of three pesticides in its line of Enforcer brand insecticides - Enforcer RoachMax Bait, Enforcer AntMax Bait and Enforcer Fire Ant Bait. Pesticide registrants are required to certify their compliance with the GLP on any testing or studies submitted to the EPA in support of a registration.
Under EPA’s antimicrobial testing program, ZEP Formula 165 was evaluated, and EPA’s testing showed that contrary to labeling claims, the product was ineffective against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A pesticide is misbranded and in violation of FIFRA if it makes false or misleading label claims.
The purpose of FIFRA is to ensure that no pesticides are produced, imported, distributed, sold, or used in a manner that poses an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment. The EPA is committed to ensuring that products are properly registered which includes meeting GLP requirements. Further, products in the marketplace must meet stringent effectiveness standards, since the public cannot readily ascertain with the naked eye the effectiveness of antimicrobial pesticides. EPA continues to place a priority on ensuring that pesticides are effective to protect human health and the environment.
EPA continues to focus national enforcement efforts on supplemental distributor activities because, in many cases, the agency has found that labels on pesticides produced and sold by supplemental distributors often lack critical information required by law, which increases the risk of harm from potential misuse of the product.
EPA Takes Action To Bring Suffolk County Company into Compliance with Pesticides Regulations
(New York, N.Y. – July 7, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Air Techniques, Inc. of Melville, New York, to settle violations of federal law governing pesticides. The company, which sell wholesale cleaners and a surface disinfectant that are used to clean instruments, equipment and surfaces in dental offices and medical facilities, sold unregistered pesticides and imported pesticides into the U.S. without proper notification. The company will pay a $375,000 penalty and come into compliance with federal pesticide law.
Some pesticides have been linked to illnesses in people, ranging from skin and eye irritation to cancer. and may also affect the hormone or endocrine systems. In many situations, there are non-chemical methods that will effectively control pests.
"Pesticides can make people sick, particularly if they are not used according to instructions,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Companies that sell pesticides without making sure these products are properly registered and labeled put people’s health and safety at risk.”
Under federal pesticide law, products that contain an unregistered pesticide as an active ingredient or claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions.
During a May 15, 2013 inspection of Air Techniques’ Melville, New York, warehouse, the EPA discovered the following violations of federal pesticides law:
U.S. EPA settles with Irvine, Calif. company to ensure safe handling of pesticides
Federal violations for sale of unregistered and misbranded pesticides resolved with $136,800 penalty
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that an Irvine, Calif. company, Advanced Sterilization Products, has agreed to pay a $136,800 penalty for the sale and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides to veterinary clinics and laboratories nationwide.
“Companies must understand that it is illegal to sell pesticides that have not been registered with the EPA,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Safe handling of pesticide products depends on critical information displayed on their approved labels.”
In 2012, EPA found that the company failed to submit required production reports for a registered pesticide distributed under the brand name “STERRAD Hydrogen Peroxide Cassettes.” Small sealed containers, called cassettes, about the size of a smartphone, containing the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide are inserted into a machine used to sterilize equipment. These cassettes were distributed to laboratories or veterinary clinics without an EPA-approved label and failed to list physical and chemical hazards as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
The Food and Drug Administration regulates systems used to sterilize “critical” or “semi-critical” medical devices for use in humans. Critical devices, such as surgical forceps, come in contact with blood or tissue, while semi-critical devices, such as endoscopes, contact broken skin or mucus membranes. Products used for the sterilization of other equipment, such as equipment in veterinary clinics and laboratories, are considered pesticides under FIFRA and must be registered and bear labels accepted by EPA.
Advanced Sterilization also sold and distributed “STERRAD Hydrogen Peroxide Boosters,” another sterilization insert, without registering it as a pesticide. In addition to the illegal distributions, and the failure to submit a required production report for 2011, the company filed incomplete and erroneous production reports for 2008-2010. Production reports provide information on company activities including the types and amounts of pesticides in production and distributed. The company has since provided the amended reports to EPA.
Advanced Sterilization Products is a Division of Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Company. The company is no longer selling the cassettes or boosters for pesticidal use.
EPA Stops Brooklyn Company from Selling Illegal Pesticides Protects Public from Potential Health Risks
(New York, N.Y. – May 1, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached an agreement with Atlantic Paste and Glue Co., Inc., of Brooklyn, New York, for violations of federal regulations governing pesticides. The company, which wholesales chemicals and related products, sold misbranded insect traps and imported the traps into the U.S. without properly notifying the EPA. The company will pay a $36,774 penalty and come into compliance with federal pesticide law.
"The sale of illegal pesticides puts the health and safety of our communities at risk,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Wholesalers have a responsibility to make sure the pesticide products they sell have the required labels, and to make sure the EPA is notified when pesticides are imported. I encourage all wholesalers to check their shelves to make sure they are not endangering their customers by selling illegal pesticides.”
Some pesticides have been linked to various forms of illnesses in people, ranging from skin and eye irritation to cancer. They may also affect the hormone or endocrine systems. In many situations, there are non-chemical methods that will effectively control pests.
Before a pesticide product is registered, the producer of the product must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not be harmful to people’s health or natural resources. The EPA examines the ingredients and the way in which the product will be used and assesses a wide variety of potential human health and environmental effects associated with its use. Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed and sold fully comply with the law.
During a 2012 investigation, the EPA discovered Atlantic had violated two provisions of federal pesticide law. Atlantic was selling the “Catchmaster Bug and Fly Clear Window Trap,” which Atlantic was importing from China without first properly notifying the EPA. Atlantic was also selling the “Catchmaster Giant Fly Trap,” although its packaging did not contain its manufacturer’s registration number. Under federal pesticide law, a pesticide is misbranded if its packaging does not contain the registration number for each establishment in which it was produced.
EPA Takes Action to Protect Public from an Illegal Nano Silver Pesticide in Food Containers
Cites NJ Company for Selling Food Containers with an Unregistered Pesticide Warns Large Retailers Not to Sell These Products
(New York, N.Y. – March 31, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued an order to the Pathway Investment Corp. of Englewood, New Jersey to stop the sale of plastic food storage containers that have not been tested or registered with the EPA, in violation of federal pesticides law. The company’s Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series Containers both contain nano silver as an active ingredient, and the company markets other products as containing nano silver, which the company claims helps reduce the growth of mold, fungus and bacteria. Such claims can only be made on products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA.
“Claims that mold, fungus or bacteria are controlled or destroyed by a particular product must be backed up with testing so that consumers know that the products do what the labels say,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Unless these products are registered with the EPA, consumers have no information about whether the claims are accurate. The EPA will continue to take action against companies making unverified public health claims.”
Some pesticides have been linked to various forms of illnesses in people, ranging from skin and eye irritation to cancer. Some pesticides may also affect the hormone or endocrine systems. In many situations, there are non-chemical methods that will effectively control pests.
Under federal pesticide law, products that contain an unregistered pesticide as an active ingredient or claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. The Agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. The food storage containers sold by Pathway were never registered with the EPA, or tested for their ability to protect consumers against bacteria, fungus, mold, or mildew. Consumers should be careful to look for the EPA registration number printed on product labels, and need to follow the label directions for use.
In addition to the order sent to Pathway, the EPA has also issued warning letters to Amazon, Sears, Wal-Mart and other large retailers directing them not to sell these products. These vendors have been selling Kinetic Food Storage Containers through their websites.
Griffin Bros. Inc. settles with EPA for violating federal pesticide rules in Salem, OR
(Seattle – September 23, 2013) Griffin Bros. Inc. of Salem, Oregon has settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating federal pesticide rules. According to today’s settlement, Griffin Bros. Inc. sold pesticides with improper labels in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
"When companies sell mislabeled pesticides they put people’s health and the environment at risk," said Kelly McFadden, manager of EPA’s pesticides and toxics enforcement program in Seattle. "Without proper labeling and safety instructions, consumers risk misapplying these pesticides."
Griffin Bros. Inc. sold two misbranded pesticide products, Bowl San and Lobacten Sanitizer, at least 92 times in 2011 and 2012. The products did not have up-to-date labels with current approved directions for use, and storage and disposal statements. To settle the violations, Griffin Bros. Inc. has agreed to pay a $36,160 penalty. As part of the settlement, Griffin Bros. Inc. promptly corrected the improper labels and changed their practices to prevent this type of violation from happening again.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, pesticides must be registered with the EPA. Before a pesticide is registered, the producer must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not harm people’s health. EPA examines the ingredients, how the product will be used, and its potential human health and environmental effects. The products must be distributed and sold with proper labeling and instructions, with the approved warning and caution statements, and detailed use directions.
News Release: Family Dollar, Inc., Pays $602,438 Penalty for Distribution of Misbranded Pesticides
August 27, 2013
ATLANTA - Family Dollar, Inc., headquartered in Matthews, NC, has paid a $602,438 civil penalty to the United States to resolve alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for misbranded pesticides.
The penalty stems from the sale or distribution of two misbranded or mislabeled antimicrobial bleach products on numerous occasions. The labels for the bleach products were not identical to the EPA approved label. Labels must be identical to the EPA approved label and may not have any additions or omit any label language as required by FIFRA.
Misbranded pesticides can pose serious risks to human health and the environment. Without proper labeling or safety instructions on packaging, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may not have adequate information to address needs for first aid in the event of emergency.
As a result of EPA’s enforcement action, Family Dollar, Inc., alerted its suppliers about the labeling issues and took steps to bring these products into compliance with FIFRA.
Fry’s Electronics Fined $50,000 by U.S. EPA for Making Unsubstantiated Health Claims
San Jose, Calif.-based company no longer sells unregistered gaming equipment wipe
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announces electronics retailer Fry’s Electronics has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty to settle a case against the company for importing and selling an unregistered gaming equipment wipe that falsely claimed to be anti-bacterial and anti-pathogenic.
“Before putting any products on the floor for sale, retailers must ensure they are in compliance with federal environmental laws,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA will continue to work with our state counterparts to ensure that products do not make unverified claims about health benefits.”
Evidence collected during an inspection by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation in February 2010 and a follow-up EPA investigation led EPA to issue a complaint against Fry’s Electronics for the improper importation, sale and distribution of Cambre Products’ Game On brand “Dirt Rags.” After being contacted by EPA, Fry’s Electronics promptly pulled the product from its shelves nationwide.
Fry’s Electronics is based in San Jose, Calif., and has stores throughout California and in eight other states. The manufacturer of the gaming control wipes, Cambre Products, is headquartered in Toronto, Canada.
Products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides, and must be registered with EPA before their sale or distribution, pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The Agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment when used according to the approved label directions. Consumers should carefully follow the directions for proper use, and to look for the EPA registration number printed on product labels.
EPA Settles with Hydrofarm, Inc. for Selling Unregistered Pesticides
Company to Pay $316,000 in Fines
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a settlement with Hydrofarm, Inc. for selling two unregistered pesticides in violation of federal pesticide law. As part of the settlement, the Petaluma, Calif.-based Hydrofarm, Inc., one of the nation’s largest distributors of agricultural and hydroponic supplies, has agreed to pay $316,000 in fines and has stopped selling both products.
“This action is part of EPA’s effort to protect agricultural employees and consumers from pesticide products that are not approved by the federal government,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It is critical that companies selling pesticides provide users with the information they need to safeguard their health and the environment.”
Hydrofarm sold sulfur to control mildew through vaporization in greenhouses without any instructions or precautionary language to minimize risks to individuals from exposure to the product. EPA has not yet evaluated the human health risks associated with the use of vaporized sulfur in greenhouses.
The company also sold “Nutralife Plant Products H2O2”— a 29 percent hydrogen peroxide product used to sanitize and disinfect hydroponic equipment and growing areas—without adequate directions for use and safety precautions. Registered products with similar hydrogen peroxide concentrations require users to wear protective clothing. Hydrogen peroxide at this concentration can cause irreversible eye damage and skin burns, and may be fatal if inhaled and harmful if swallowed or absorbed through the skin.
The inspection at Hydrofarm was conducted by EPA staff. Hydrofarm was targeted based on a tip resulting from a California Department of Pesticide Regulation inspection at a separate hydroponic store.
Before selling or distributing any pesticide in the United States, companies must register the pesticide with the EPA. The domestic sale or distribution of pesticides that have not been registered with the EPA, such as the two unregistered pesticides sold by Hydrofarm, is a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, which ensures the safe and appropriate distribution, handling, and application of pesticides.
Accu-Care Supply, Inc. of East Providence, R.I.
In Dec. 2012, EPA settled claims against Accu-Care Supply, a pool chemical supply company, for alleged violations involving the production of nine separate sodium hypochlorite-based pesticide products in its East Providence establishment without first registering that facility as a pesticide-producing establishment under FIFRA. Under the settlement, Accu-Care agreed to pay a civil penalty of $30,000, properly register the establishment under FIFRA, and to maintain compliance with all other FIFRA requirements.
Exergen Corp. of Watertown, Mass.
In Jan. 2013, EPA settled claims against Exergen for alleged FIFRA violations involving the distribution or sale of unregistered pesticide products. Under the settlement, Exergen agreed to pay a civil penalty of $185,000 and operate in full compliance with FIFRA and its underlying regulations. The settlement also resolved a prior Stop Sale Order concerning the same issues. The products in question included three models of a medical device, specifically, a temporal scanning thermometer, that were treated with silver ion antimicrobials and marketed with certain public health claims that subjected them to the stringent pesticide registration provisions of FIFRA Section 3. Normally, such “treated articles” are exempt from FIFRA regulation if certain conditions are met including, among other things, the avoidance of public health claims.
Wash Safe Industries of Brewster, Mass.
In Feb. 2013, EPA settled claims against Wash Safe for alleged FIFRA violations involving the sale and distribution of pesticide cleaning products without having registered those products, and the production of pesticide products in an establishment that had not been registered under FIFRA. This action followed an earlier Stop Sale Order issued to ensure compliance with FIFRA by immediately halting the sale of unregistered pesticide products. Wash Safe has agreed to pay $10,000 under the settlement, based on its ability to pay.
BioSensory, Inc. of Putnam, Conn.
In March 2013, EPA settled claims against BioSensory for alleged FIFRA violations for failing to report annual production and sales data, failing to submit notices of FIFRA-regulated imports, distributing or selling misbranded pesticides or devices, and distributing/selling pesticides for unauthorized uses. Under the settlement, BioSensory agreed to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 and to certify that they are now complying with FIFRA. This action followed a prior “Stop Sale Order” issued to address the immediate concerns. BioSensory is in the business of importing, distributing, and selling pesticides and pesticide devices that mitigate and manage insects, including bedbugs.
Wood treatment companies violate federal pesticide laws intended to protect human health
(Seattle – February 27, 2013) Gardner-Fields, Inc. of Tacoma, Washington and IBC Manufacturing Co. of Memphis, Tennessee will pay fines for violating federal pesticide laws, according to separate settlements announced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Companies that sell or distribute mislabeled pesticides put people’s health and the environment at risk," said Ed Kowalski, Director of EPA Region 10 Compliance and Enforcement. "Without proper labeling and safety instructions, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may lack important information for emergency first aid."
* Gardner-Fields, Inc. produced, sold, and distributed four IBC Manufacturing Co. wood preservatives under its own brand names with outdated labels. The four products are ATCO Woodlast 1420, ATCO Woodlast 2c 1423, ATCO Woodlast 2 RTU 1422, and ATCO Shakelast 1441. Gardner-Fields agreed to pay a penalty of $35,336 to settle the violations.
* IBC Manufacturing Co., the owner of the products, allowed the wood preservatives to be distributed and sold with outdated labels, by failing to inform Gardner-Fields, Inc. of important label changes required by EPA. IBC Manufacturing agreed to pay a penalty of $265,000 to settle the violations.
During an inspection in September 2008, EPA found that IBC Manufacturing and Gardner-Fields had produced, distributed, and sold four wood preservatives with outdated labels in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, wood preservatives are considered pesticides that must be registered with the EPA. Pesticides must also be distributed and sold with proper labeling and instructions that include important warning and caution statements about the product and detailed directions on the proper use of the product.
Before a pesticide is registered, the producer must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not harm people’s health. The EPA examines the ingredients, how the product will be used, and its potential human health and environmental effects. Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed and sold fully comply with the law.
EPA Announces Settlements with Company for Multiple Violations of Chemical Reporting and Pesticide Laws
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it reached settlements with two subsidiaries of the Kemira Group for violations of chemical and pesticide laws.
The settlement with Kemira Chemicals resolves alleged violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, including the sale and distribution of an unregistered pesticide, the sale and distribution of misbranded pesticides, and pesticide production reporting violations. The sale and distribution of unregistered or misbranded pesticides can cause serious illness in humans and be harmful to the environment. Under the terms of the agreement, Kemira Chemicals has corrected the alleged violations and will pay a civil penalty of $301,600.
EPA also reached an agreement with Kemira Water Solutions after an EPA inspection identified 27 violations of the Toxic Substance Control Act’s Inventory Update Reporting (IUR) rule for the 2006 reporting period. The IUR rule requires manufacturers and importers of certain chemical substances to report the production volume and location of each facility producing these chemical substances. The information collected is used to support risk screening and assessment and makes up the most comprehensive source of basic screening-level, exposure-related information on chemicals available to EPA. Kemira Water Solutions has since submitted the required information to EPA and will pay a civil penalty of $503,110.
Kemira Chemicals, Inc. and Kemira Water Solutions, Inc. are both subsidiaries of Kemira Group, a global chemical company with U.S. headquarters in Atlanta, Ga.
EPA Penalizes Retailers for Selling Unregistered Pesticides
EPA recently reached penalty agreements with three companies for previous violations of pesticide regulations. In September 2011, Man Li Trading was found to have violations at its store in Brooklyn and Hong Kong Supermarket had violations at its stores in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In March 2012, NJ Cash and Carry was found to have violations at its store in Clifton, New Jersey.
During 2011 and 2012, EPA Region 2 conducted over 250 inspections of retail outlets, and pesticide distributors and importers in New Jersey and New York, removing over 20,000 units of illegal pesticides in the process.
EPA Takes Action against Companies that Sell and Import Illegal Pesticides
(New York, N.Y. – December 28, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued legal complaints against two companies, the Daifuku Trading Corp. of Englewood, New Jersey and the Everyday Group of Brooklyn, New York, for selling unregistered pesticides. Both companies face penalties for violating federal pesticides law. Daifuku faces additional fines for making false and misleading statements on one of its pesticide products, for not properly labeling six products and for the improper importation of pesticide products. Under federal law, products used to kill pests must be registered with the EPA and contain labels written in English with instructions on their proper use.
"When stores sell illegal pesticides, the health and safety of people are put at risk," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Unless pesticide products are registered with the EPA and have the required EPA labels, they should not be sold. Store owners should protect the health of their customers and remove any unregistered pesticides from their shelves immediately."
EPA inspections of the Daifuku Trading Corp.’s stores in Flushing, New York and Englewood, New Jersey revealed that the company was selling unregistered and misbranded pesticide products, including insect repellents, laundry detergents and disinfectants. In addition, Daifuku failed to notify the EPA it was importing pesticide products into the U.S., also a violation of federal pesticide law.
EPA inspections of the Everyday Group’s Brooklyn offices and a Kearny, New Jersey warehouse revealed the company was selling pesticide products that had not been registered with the EPA to stores throughout the New York City area. Among the products were mothballs imported from China that could be easily mistaken for candy. This product, called Fuji Lavender Moth Tablets, contained an active ingredient called para-dichlorobenzene, which is a toxic chemical.
Pesticides have been linked to various forms of illnesses in people, ranging from skin and eye irritation to cancer. Some pesticides may also affect the hormone or endocrine systems. In many situations, there are non-chemical methods that will effectively control pests. The EPA recommends the use of alternative methods as part of an overall pest management strategy.
Before a pesticide product is registered, the producer of the product must provide data from tests conducted according to EPA guidelines to ensure that the product will not be harmful to people’s health. The EPA examines the ingredients and the way in which the product will be used, and assesses a wide variety of potential human health and environmental effects associated with its use. Distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring that all pesticides distributed and sold fully comply with the law.
Federal pesticides law additionally requires the filing of a "Notice of Arrival" prior to the arrival of all imported pesticides into the United States. Companies must submit detailed information on the Notice of Arrival form to allow the EPA to determine if the pesticide is approved for use in the United States or meets one of the few allowable exemptions. Products not registered with the EPA for use in the United States are denied entry and destroyed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or immediately exported back to their country of origin under Customs supervision.
U.S. EPA Fines Logitech More than $250,000 for Making Unsubstantiated Health Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered computer peripherals maker Logitech, Inc. to pay $261,000 to settle a case against the company for making unsubstantiated public health claims about its keyboard, a violation of federal law. The company incorporated a silver compound designed to protect a keyboard against deterioration, then marketed the keyboard as protecting the user from bacteria and microbes. To promote such benefits for that use a company must have the product tested, then registered by the EPA.
“Unverified public health claims can lead people to believe they are protected from disease-causing organisms when, in fact, they are not,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The EPA takes very seriously its responsibility to enforce the law against companies that make such claims for their products.”
Logitech, whose U.S. headquarters are based in Fremont, Calif., distributed some 1,300 cordless desktop MX3200 laser keyboards to various retailers and customers throughout the nation. This keyboard and mouse combination incorporated an EPA registered pesticide, AgION silver compound.
Evidence found online and during an investigation of the Fremont facility in 2008 led the Agency to issue a complaint against Logitech. After being contacted by EPA, Logitech promptly stopped making claims that their product protects consumers against bacteria, mold and mildew, removed claims from their website, and revised their product packaging.
Products that kill or repel bacteria or germs and/or claim to do so are considered pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA before their sale or distribution, pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. The Agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions. Consumers should be careful to follow the directions for proper use, and look for the EPA registration number printed on product labels.
Scotts Miracle-Gro Will Pay $12.5 Million in Criminal Fines and Civil Penalties for Violations of Federal Pesticide Laws
WASHINGTON - The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a producer of pesticides for commercial and consumer lawn and garden uses, was sentenced today in federal district court in Columbus, Ohio, to pay a $4 million fine and perform community service for eleven criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the manufacture, distribution, and sale of pesticides. Scotts pleaded guilty in February 2012 to illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products that are toxic to birds, falsifying pesticide registration documents, distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels, and distributing unregistered pesticides. This is the largest criminal penalty under FIFRA to date.
In a separate civil agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scotts agreed to pay more than $6 million in penalties and spend $2 million on environmental projects to resolves additional civil pesticide violations. The violations include distributing or selling unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. This is the largest civil settlement under FIFRA to date.
“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”
“As the world’s largest marketer of residential use pesticides, Scotts has a special obligation to make certain that it observes the laws governing the sale and use of its products. For having failed to do so, Scotts has been sentenced to pay the largest fine in the history of FIFRA enforcement," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with EPA to assure that pesticides applied in homes and on lawns and food are sold and used in compliance with the laws intended to assure their safety.”
In the plea agreement, Scotts admitted that it applied the pesticides Actellic 5E and Storcide II to its bird food products even though EPA had prohibited this use. Scotts had done so to protect its bird foods from insect infestation during storage. Scotts admitted that it used these pesticides contrary to EPA directives and in spite of the warning label appearing on all Storicide II containers stating, “Storcide II is extremely toxic to fish and toxic to birds and other wildlife.” Scotts sold this illegally treated bird food for two years after it began marketing its bird food line and for six months after employees specifically warned Scotts management of the dangers of these pesticides. By the time it voluntarily recalled these products in March 2008, Scotts had sold more than 70 million units of bird food illegally treated with pesticide that is toxic to birds.
Scotts also pleaded guilty to submitting false documents to EPA and to state regulatory agencies in an effort to deceive them into believing that numerous pesticides were registered with EPA when in fact they were not. The company also pleaded guilty to having illegally sold the unregistered pesticides and to marketing pesticides bearing labels containing false and misleading claims not approved by EPA. The falsified documents submitted to EPA and states were attributed to a federal product manager at Scotts.
In addition to the $4 million criminal fine, Scotts will contribute $500,000 to organizations that protect bird habitat, including $100,000 each to the Ohio Audubon’s Important Bird Area Program, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Urban Forestry Program, the Columbus Metro-Parks Bird Habitat Enhancement Program, the Cornell University Ornithology Laboratory, and The Nature Conservancy of Ohio to support the protection of bird populations and habitats through conservation, research, and education.
At the time the criminal violations were discovered, EPA also began a civil investigation that uncovered numerous civil violations spanning five years. Scotts’ FIFRA civil violations included the nationwide distribution or sale of unregistered, canceled, or misbranded pesticides, including products with inadequate warnings or cautions. As a result, EPA issued more than 40 Stop Sale, Use or Removal Orders to Scotts to address more than 100 pesticide products.
In addition to the $6 million civil penalty, Scotts will complete environmental projects, valued at $2 million, to acquire, restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of agricultural chemicals into nearby waterways.
The criminal case was investigated by EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Environmental Enforcement Unit of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation. It was prosecuted by Senior Trial Attorney Jeremy F. Korzenik of the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, by Michael J. McClary, EPA Criminal Enforcement Counsel and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Michael Marous.
The civil case was investigated by U.S. EPA Region 5’s Land and Chemicals Division and Office of Regional Counsel, and the U.S. EPA Headquarters Office of Civil Enforcement, assisted by the Office of Pesticides Program.
Nisso America, Inc., to Pay $6,864 Civil Penalty for Failure to Label and File Notice of Imported Pesticide
(Kansas City, Kan., June 29, 2012) - Nisso America, Inc., a subsidiary of Nippon Soda Co., Ltd., of Tokyo, Japan, has agreed to pay a $6,864 civil penalty to the United States for failing to properly label 44 drums containing 880 pounds of imported pesticides from Italy as well as failing to provide EPA with a required notice that it had imported the drums.
According to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., Nisso America, Inc., imported 44 drums of Tebufenozide Technical on December 8, 2011. The Notice of Arrival (NOA) form that Nisso America was required to submit to EPA before any shipment of pesticides arrives at a United States port of entry was submitted five days after the 44 drums of pesticide were released from the port of entry into commerce.
On December 27, 2011, an inspector from the Missouri Department of Agriculture found that none of the drums had an EPA-accepted label, therefore missing an EPA registration number, an EPA establishment number, directions for use, a first aid statement, an ingredient statement, a precautionary statement, a signal word, and a child hazard warning statement.
Nisso America, Inc., violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly label the 44 drums of imported pesticide and failing to timely submit to EPA the NOA.
The sale or distribution of misbranded or mislabeled pesticides can pose serious risks to human health, plant and animal life, and the environment. Without proper labeling or safety instructions on packaging, users can unintentionally misapply pesticides and may not have adequate information to address needs for first aid in the event of emergency.
Under the FIFRA, importers of pesticides must ensure that pesticides containers imported into the U.S. bear the required FIFRA labeling and must file notices with EPA prior to importation of pesticides. Violation of the FIFRA regulations impacts EPA’s ability to track potentially hazardous and toxic pesticide products.
The pesticide involved in this case, Tebufenozide Technical, is a toxic chemical used in the formulation of other insecticides.
As a result of EPA’s enforcement action, Nisso America, Inc., was required to re-label all 44 drums in the shipment of Tebufenozide Technical. The company has also instituted changes in its practices to prevent similar violations, and has certified that it is presently in compliance with the FIFRA and its regulations.
‘The North Face’ Clothing Parent Company Facing Nearly $1M in Federal Fines Following Unsubstantiated Product Claims
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has filed suit against San Leandro based VF Corporation for the alleged sale and distribution of unregistered pesticides through their retail company, The North Face. The EPA maintains that The North Face made unsubstantiated public health claims regarding unregistered products, and their ability to control germs and pathogens -- a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. Products discovered online and evidence found at The North Face retail store in San Francisco led the Agency to issue a complaint against the VF Corporation.
“The EPA takes very seriously its responsibility to enforce against companies that sell products with unsubstantiated antimicrobial properties,” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the Communities and Ecosystems Division in EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Unverified public health claims can lead people to believe they are protected from disease-causing organisms when, in fact, they may not be.”
At issue were more than 70 styles of footwear that incorporated an AgION silver treated footbed. The company sold the products making unsubstantiated claims that the footwear would prevent disease-causing bacteria. Specifically, The North Face made the following public health claims about the footwear on-line and on product packaging:
After being contacted by EPA, The North Face stopped making claims that their footwear protects against germs, removed claims from their website, and revised their product packaging.
Products that kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides, and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. The Agency will not register a pesticide until it has been tested to show that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the directions. Consumers should be careful to look for the EPA registration number printed on product labels, and to follow the directions for proper use.
Bartlett Grain Company to Pay $14,560 Civil Penalty to Settle Allegations of Unauthorized Repackaging of Four Pesticides
A Missouri agricultural merchant has agreed to pay a $14,560 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that it repackaged and sold four different pesticides without proper authorization at its facility in Waverly, Mo. According to a consent agreement filed this week in Kansas City, Kan., Bartlett Grain Company, LLC, headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., was found to be in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) as a result of an inspection of its Waverly facility by the Missouri Department of Agriculture in November. The inspection and subsequent review of records revealed that the business distributed or sold repackaged forms of the pesticides Medal II; Atra-5; Lo-Vol 4 2,4-D; and Parallel; all without having prior written authorization from the legal registrants of those products, as required by FIFRA. As a result of the enforcement action, Bartlett Grain has since obtained the necessary written authorizations for all pesticide products that it repackages at the Waverly facility. "The proper packaging and labeling of pesticides is important to farmers and consumers alike, because it protects public health and safety, and it also protects the environment," Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. "EPA is committed to the enforcement of these regulations."
Claims about Keyboards Result in $205,000 Penalty for Samsung; Company Agrees to Stop Making Claims
When it publicized that its keyboards were antimicrobial and inhibited germs and bacteria, Samsung hadn’t registered its products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and was found to be in violation of the federal pesticide law. As a result, Samsung has agreed to pay a fine and to stop making the claims. The claims made on the company's labels and promotional material for netbook and notebook computer laptops would render the products pesticides, requiring registration by EPA.
“Pesticides can be beneficial in killing off harmful bacteria, but they can also be dangerous if they don’t work as claimed,” said George Pavlou, Acting Regional Administrator. Members of the public think their health is being protected when it actually is not. “Making sure that public health claims are true is part of the reason EPA governs the use of pesticides, and it is absolutely essential that those using pesticides register with EPA so that the Agency can ensure the safety of all involved.”
EPA’s federal pesticide law, also known as the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), is designed to regulate the sale and use of pesticides in the United States. Before a pesticide can be sold or distributed in the United States, FIFRA requires that registration be obtained from EPA. In making a registration decision, EPA must determine that the pesticide, when used in accordance with labeling directions, will not cause unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment. Without a pesticide product in its registration database, EPA cannot, for example, prescribe labeling requirements that set forth effective warnings and specific directions for use.
Samsung will pay a $205,000 fine and provide a certification that it has complied with FIFRA by removing all pesticidal claims made in connection with the sales and distributions of these products. Additionally, Samsung has notified its retailers and distributors to remove any pesticidal claims from labels, promotional brochures and internet/Web-based content for the subject products.
EPA Reaches Settlement with Nation’s Largest Manufacturer of Hospital Disinfectants; Company Agrees to Pay $550,000 in Penalties
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently settled a third pesticide enforcement case against Lonza Inc., the nation’s largest manufacturer of hospital disinfectants, for multiple violations of the federal law that regulates pesticides. Most recently, the New Jersey-based company agreed to pay more than $550,000 in fines for allegedly making misleading claims regarding the efficacy of two products. The settlement is one of the largest civil penalties assessed under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Combined with earlier settlements, the penalties total over $640,000. Under a previous settlement, the company also developed a ground-breaking supplemental environmental project, valued at $390,000.
“It may surprise people to know that part of EPA’s job is to make sure disinfectants are as effective as they claim, and we take this job very seriously,” George Pavlou, Acting EPA Regional Administrator said. “Products that make claims that are not met put people at risk of getting sick. We are pleased that Lonza has agreed to not only pay penalties but to take steps that will go a long way toward rectifying the problem.”
Before any pesticide is sold in the U.S., it must go through EPA's vigorous registration process. During this process, companies must provide health studies and environmental information about the product to ensure that its proper use does not cause any negative human or environmental effects. It is incumbent upon the manufacturer to ensure that a product functions as stated on the label. If EPA decides to register the product, it grants the manufacturer an EPA registration number, which is listed on the product. EPA also works closely with the manufacturer on the label language to make sure that it is clear and as specific as possible about how the product may be used.
Products cited for inefficacy in the most recent case were: Saniphor No. 450, registered as a tuberculocide, but found ineffective against a bacterium that causes tuberculosis; and 7 Healthcare Disinfectant Neutral Cleaner, which EPA tests determined did not kill the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as claimed on the label. In addition, Klear Guard Tub & Tile Foaming Germicidal Cleaner was cited as misbranded for use of a label with missing first aid information.
Southwest Missouri Pet Supply Dealer to Pay $56,632 Penalty for Re-Labeling, Selling Misbranded Cattle and Hog Insecticide
A southwest Missouri pet supply dealer has agreed to pay a $56,632 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that it violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by repackaging, relabeling and selling an insecticide meant for use on cattle and hogs as a flea and tick treatment for dogs.
Hunte Kennel Systems and Animal Care, Inc., of Goodman, Mo., will pay the civil penalty under terms of an administrative consent agreement filed today by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan.
The allegations stem from findings made by the Missouri Department of Agriculture during inspections of the company's facilities in Goodman and Buffalo, Mo. The inspections found that the company had bottled the pesticide Prolate/Lintox-HD into different packaging and sold it as another pesticide, Paramite.
During the inspections, the company was ordered to immediately stop selling the repackaged pesticide. Prolate/Lintox-HD is formulated for use in the control of flies, lice, mange and ticks on cattle, and for the control of lice and mange on swine. Paramite is no longer manufactured as a flea and tick treatment for dogs.
EPA settles with pet products company for illegally selling, distributing pesticides to Tempe retailer
Exotic Nutrition Pet Company pays $3,500 fine
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Exotic Nutrition Pet Company, a distributor of pet products, to resolve the alleged sale and distribution of the unregistered pesticide Exotic Nutrition Kage-Care.
Virginia-based Exotic Nutrition Pet Company sold the unregistered pesticide Exotic Nutrition Kage-Care to Tempe, Ariz., retailer, Pets, Inc. -- a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
“Selling unregistered pesticides is a significant violation that can result in harm to public health and the environment” said Katherine Taylor, associate director of the EPA’s Community and Ecosystems Division for the Pacific Southwest Region. “Companies must register pesticides with the EPA before distributing and selling such products.”
Exotic Nutrition Kage-Care is used as a virucide, fungicide and disinfectant for pet cages. The Arizona Department of Agriculture discovered the violations during an inspection.